It would seem logical that the smallest Central American coffee-growing country would produce microlots, but historically, much of the coffee was blended and sold to mills, without much lot differentiation and separation. The rise of specialty coffee in El Salvador has inspired many producers to start to identify and isolate individual varieties, and to experiment with sorting and processing, as a way of attracting buyers and getting higher prices, but access to those resources can still be difficult for smaller growers.
For the past few years, Café Imports green buyer Piero Cristiani—who is from El Salvador, and whose mother has a long history in coffee there—has embarked on a project designed to identify, reward, and bring to market the exceptional results of the hard, innovative work that producers are increasingly interested in doing here.
Focusing on the region of Chalatenango, Piero has partnered with a cupper and a local mill to buy small, select microlots from producers—some separated by variety, some by process, and some by both. We are buying the coffee in parchment and doing the ruling and final sorting and bagging ourselves, which allows for more quality control as well as the ability to package some of these very special small lots in custom 35-kilo Pequeños bags, to create more widespread access to these coffees to roasters.
Jorge Salomón Lemus is the owner of Finca El Mango, a 15-manzana farm planted with 10 manzanas of coffee, including Pacas, Pacamara, and Catimor trees. Jorge produces Washed coffees, picking the cherries ripe, depulping them, and fermenting them dry for 8 hours before washing and spreading them on a patio to try for around a week.
Finca El Mango produces between 13–20 quintales of coffee a year, and the harvest has been quite small recently, though Jorge hopes to grow his farm size even more—he started in 1998 with just 1.5 manzanas of land.
We are proud to offer these micro-microlots, and can’t wait for you and your customers to experience the delicious stuff that comes in these small packages.
For more information about coffee production in El Salvador, visit our El Salvador Origin Page.